Tea Sets by Christine Misiak


New Designers 07: Northumbria University design graduate Christine Misiak takes old tea sets she finds at car boot sales and brings them back to life.


The sets were first shown at the New Designers show in London earlier this summer - where they won the Peter Walker award for innovation in product design - and will now be shown at the 100% Futures show in September, during the London Design Festival.


Misiak explains her concept: "Basically I take old, worn forgotten tea sets and give them a new lease of life. I find the old battered metal tea sets at car boot sales or flea markets.


"Green sets: the silver metal parts I have taken off old sets, and cut them off the originals then cleaned them up and made new bodies for them out of metal.


"Then the components are all permanently fabricated together, then the whole thing silver plated, then the parts I want green are sprayed green (the green sets are prototypes that I am developing and seeking to get manufactured). So its a mixture of old and new, and mixing of the eras.


"The orange set: when I sourced this set at a car boot sale the previous owner snapped off the metal handle and so no one would want a broken tea pot, so I bought the set, cleaned it up and made a new wooden handle for it, then powder coated the whole set to make it usable and desirable again. The same applies with the black set.


"With this black set, when I sourced it at a car boot sale it was in extremely bad condition. The surface finish was rusty, dirty and scratched, also the inside of the tea pot was very unappealing.


"Moreover, one of the little legs on the sugar bowl had been snapped off by the prior owner, therefore it had really reached its end life.


So I cleaned the set up and applied black to it, and now the surface finish is glossy and smooth and the set can actually be used again. The imperfection with the broken sugar bowl leg is still there, but it acts as character and the set aims to celebrate the imperfections.
Below is a press release from Misiak:


About the Tea Sets


Trying to mix an element of craft with industrially manufactured products, doing so by designing various tea sets with the aim of combining old and new. There is no doubt that collectables and old things add so much to our lives, from soothing our fragile psyches after a less than wonderful day to reminding us about the beauty in this world.


We need them to preserve or portray important aspects of past, present and future cultural heritage and are important for the understanding or humankind. Today, old tea sets which used to be so important in the past are neglected and uncared for.


These objects of desire that once stood shining in all their glory on dining room tables as centrepieces are now objects of disregard. Once people saved up to buy them, but now they are forgotten and hidden away in boxes in attics, garages and basements and many make their way onto car boot sales or onto online ‘shops’ such as Ebay.


Therefore for these objects which hold great importance in providing an invaluable insight into the values and understanding and craftsmanship of a bygone era, to end up as forgotten ‘artefacts’ of the past is a sad thing.


The reason why these tea sets are cast away and end up on Ebay is probably due to the reason that they are deemed un-cool or unfashionable, however another reason may be because of their dated styling and colour. Also the condition of many of these tea sets means that they cannot be used; silver plating has often come off, surface is dirty and unpolished, dints and scratches are present on the surface.


Therefore the idea of reusing these old things acts as a way of giving them a new lease of life. Reusing and reinventing old tea sets to make them more current and fashionable for today’s market.